Me with my muse, Bailey!

About Allison Shamrell Photography:

Thanks for visiting my blog! My name is Allison, and I work in San Diego, CA, capturing the personalities of dogs and cats of all sizes & temperaments. I do photo sessions on location and in-studio, wherever my clients prefer! My photography style is natural, playful & soulful.

Here on my blog, I tell the stories of recent sessions and events. You might even find an insight or two into the behind-the-scenes side of my business! I hope you have fun looking around!

If you would like to receive a quick little email to let you know when I publish a new post, see the button at the bottom left of this page! Thanks! :)

619-357-6624  ~  Allison@AllisonShamrell.com  ~  3251 Adams Avenue, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92116

Officially Voted the Best Pet Photographer in San Diego, 2014-2016, by the San Diego A-List.

Tag: ‘studio’



Ava & Lacey, Black Dogs from San Diego

Friday, September 29th, 2017

I absolutely loved my photo session with Ava & Lacey – I’m so excited to introduce them to you! :)

Ava & Lacey are black dogs who live in Santee with their mom. Ava is the older sister and Lacey is definitely the puppy of the family; they have very different personalities but I can’t think of them any other way than as the perfect pair. Ava is a sweet, slow-moving girl with fluffy soft fur and the most gorgeous brown eyes. (Her name is pronounced “aw-vuh” like “avocado” – because she was found in a field of avocado trees as a puppy!) And when her mom was ready to bring another dog home, believe it or not, Ava picked out Lacey as a sister! Their mom made sure Ava had just as much voice as she did in picking out a younger sister from the shelter – and Lacey was Ava’s first choice. (I know, it’s the cutest thing you’ve EVER heard. It was for me, at least!) Lacey is a shorthaired labrador mix with matching jet-black fur, several years younger than Ava but just as loving & happy. They’re very different dogs, but they both love the same things: trips to the park, tennis balls, and of course their mom. We had so much fun during their photo session!

One of their mom’s priorities for our session was to capture some “black on black” images. Photographing black dogs on a black studio backdrop can be tricky – but I love how these portraits turned out! This is Ava, posing like a total pro already.

black dogs studio

 

Lacey has pretty much mastered the head tilt for treats. (And it was so cute – every time I’d take a few photos, she would get up from whatever pose she was in and run around the studio excitedly, as if to say “yay we took more photos!” I called it her victory lap, haha – she did it a dozen times, it was adorable!)

black dogs black background

 

For the second part of our session – for a bit of COLOR – we headed to Old Poway Park and ran around in the sunlight together!

black dogs san diego

 

This bright red railway car against the gorgeous fur of these black dogs? Yes please!

black dogs photo

 

Puja, thank you so much for introducing me to your girls! I can’t wait to show you the rest of our photos soon! :)

 

Yahoo! The votes are in… Allison Shamrell Pet Photography is officially #1!

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

I’m thrilled to announce that my incredible clients & friends have made their voices heard – and as a result, we won!!! (And yes, I say “we” – because even though I’m a solopreneur, this is a team victory that validates all the great experiences my clients have had!)

 

best pet photographer certificate

 

That’s right – the official 2017 results are in, and my business ranked #1 for the “best pet photographer” category on the San Diego A-List!

This is such incredible news. Most importantly, it proves that all the hard work I do every day means a lot to the awesome people I get to call clients. And that’s really rewarding for me. However, it also signifies that I have a lot to live up to – because the title of “BEST” certainly doesn’t mean I get to relax! It means I’m obligated to go on being the best – which (to me) means innovation, meticulousness, and constantly hustling.

Plus – if I’m really being honest – it just feels great to win! No one ever said I should stop being competitive just because I’m not playing basketball anymore! :)

So thank you to everyone who voted for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It may have felt like a two-second click of the mouse (or tap of the finger) to you, but to me it was a tremendous show of your support.

And since I’ve won this award every year since 2014 (double yay!!) you can bet that I’m thinking about alllllll kinds of ways to outdo myself again! This year, it was adding a “Pack Portraits” event for my past clients & networking colleagues, a free (!) quickie photo session at one of San Diego’s most iconic locations. Next year? I wonder what it’ll be…

Here’s to crushing the rest of 2017 as San Diego’s best pet photographer! :)

Rocky the Labrador Retriever Mix from San Diego

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Have you ever met a labrador retriever you didn’t love?! I haven’t! Labs are awesome dogs – although I often hear from my clients how many shoes their labrador has chewed up, all about their through-the-roof nonstop energy levels, and how generally unruly they can be (especially as puppies). So I’ll be totally honest: I’d love to have a labrador retriever of my own, but I’m a little intimidated!!

Rocky, however, is different.

Did you leave dinner on the table? Rocky won’t touch it. He’s running around in the park? Call his name and he comes immediately. Is the front door open? He won’t go outside unless you tell him to. Don’t get me wrong: he’s a big, boisterous, rough-and-tumble dog with that goofy lab smile, and he definitely has his mischievous side. But Rocky is a very special dog, in a hard-to-explain kind of way – so suffice to say he’s one of the smartest and most intuitive dogs I’ve ever met. I felt like I wore out the word “wow” during our session, simply because he was constantly surprising me with how he’d do anything his mom asked. (Especially if his favorite toy was involved – a laser light!)

And trust me, the devotion he has for his mom Sara goes both ways. In our Pre-Session Consultation, Sara & I were talking about how awful it is that so many dogs end up abandoned at shelters because their owner’s new housing didn’t allow pets. Neither of us could imagine sending our dogs to a shelter for such a ridiculous & avoidable reason – and Sara proudly stated that if she was ever in that situation, she’d happily sleep in her car until she could find a home for both of them. At that moment, I knew we’d have a great photo session: Rocky & Sara are family, with an unbreakable bond. I was honored and excited to showcase that bond in their images!

 

But since my human subjects usually like to see photos of themselves before I post them online for the world to see (understandably!), I’ll shine the spotlight on Rocky for this blog post! Here’s the handsome boy, posing like a pro in the studio!

labrador retriever

 

Unsurprisingly, Rocky has great recall! So we spent plenty of time running through the brush at Balboa Park, in the same spot where he & his mom come every single day for walks & playtime.

labrador retriever mix dog

 

He’s such a handsome boy.

labrador retriever dog

 

 

Sara, I’m so glad we finally got together for this unforgettable photo session! I’m so excited to see you & Rocky again soon! :)

 

Best Pet Photography Session Locations in San Diego, CA

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

bet pet photo locations san diego

 

I’m excited to share some of my favorite local spots around town with you! If you’re considering booking a pet photography session for you & your family, this will (hopefully) be a super-helpful source of ideas – or maybe the perfect memory jogger for that great spot you already know about! In any case, they’re the best pet photography session locations I know, so I think you’ll like them too!

 

For Any Pet: Your House!

best photo session location home

Your pets are most comfortable in their home, so why not cozy up on the couch for your photo session? I’d love to photograph your dog in his “natural habitat” as he runs around in the backyard, relaxes in the living room, and even snuggles into your bed (if he’s allowed!).

If your dog is uncertain of new places, or especially shy around new people, or elderly – or if you have a cat – this is probably the best place to be! And don’t worry about your hone not being photo-ready: I’ll be focusing on your dog, not the bits of clutter & dust in the corners of the room. But if your dog is highly territorial, or not allowed on any of the furniture, or you don’t have any backyard to speak of, or if you’re a contender for a future episode of Hoarders, keep reading…

 

For Active Dogs: the Beach!

beach for best pet photography session

We live in San Diego, for goodness’ sake! Let’s go to the BEACH! Whether you live near Coronado, Ocean Beach, Fiesta Island, La Jolla, Del Mar, or Encinitas – the beach is most likely a part of your lifestyle here in Southern California – so let’s GO! I looooove the beach! :)

If you have a retriever of any kind, or simply a pup that loves to run, swim & fetch, I’d be happy to meet you on the shores of San Diego. And since dog beaches are typically not ideal locations (because there are always a million of other dogs & distractions there), I know a bunch of dog-friendly beaches around town that aren’t packed with pups! Although if you have a dog that doesn’t like water, or can’t swim (coughbulldogscough), or simply doesn’t have the energy to run through the sand, this may not be the ideal location for your photo session. Keep scrolling…

 

For Any Dogs: the Park!

best pet photo session parks

We’re so lucky to have an incredible selection of gorgeous public parks around San Diego, and they’re all so diverse! Our parks have green grass, flowers, architecture, and plenty of room to run, depending on where you go… or maybe there’s a new park in your neighborhood that I’ve never visited with its own hidden treasures?

Every dog looks great on a backdrop of green grass. Seriously, all of them. The park is literally always a win (unless your dog can’t handle being outdoors for some reason). Just like the beach, I stay away from dog parks, and prefer parks that just happen to be dog-friendly instead. We’ll keep your dog safe whether we can trust him off-leash or not, and end up with a great variety of images that have a natural, classic feel. Bonus points if your dog has already been to the park we pick, and feels comfortable there from the get-go. You can’t go wrong!

 

For Outdoorsy Dogs: Hiking Trails!

best pet photography hiking session locations

My dog, Bailey, is an explorer. She’s happiest when she’s out in nature, sniffing everything, and discovering all the secrets of a new place. (And stumbling upon a wild rabbit is the icing on the cake, haha!) If your dog is anything like Bailey and loves to be out in the wilderness, let’s go hiking in one of San Diego’s many canyons & trails!

If the words “hiking buddy” describe your dog, this can be the perfect location! And there are plenty of trails around San Diego to choose from. But if your dog isn’t the “active” type, could run the risk of overheating in the sun, or has an obsessively-high prey drive, a trail might not be ideal after all. Read on…

 

 

 

For the Modern Dog: the Studio!

best pet photo session studio

Last but certainly not least, the studio is a fabulous location for a modern, fun photo session! The uncluttered, solid-color backdrops let your dog’s natural beauty shine through; there are no distracting visual elements. It’s all about your pet. Simple, classic & timeless.

The studio is perfect for dogs of all energy levels (yes, really!) that are comfortable in new environments. It’s the safest environment possible, since it’s totally private, 100% secure, and free of any major distractions. If your dog can’t stand the sight of other dogs, this might be the perfect place! But if your dog stresses out in new places, is scared of lightning (not thunder, but lightning, since I have two strobe lights in the studio) or simply comes alive when they’re outdoors & free – this place might not be ideal for them.

 

 

For the Discriminating Dog: another unique place!

pet photography session locations

I know several places in San Diego’s neighborhoods that don’t fit in the above categories. Sunset Cliffs, Old Poway Park, East Village (downtown), Cedros Avenue (Solana Beach), local marinas, military bases, luxury hotels, the Sweetwater Bridge… the possibilities are endless. Let’s get creative!

 

And remember: all this being said, I LOVE to discover new places. If you have a different location in mind – even if it’s far away – don’t hesitate to ask!

 

One more thing to consider:

At the end of the day, the best pet photography session locations for you are the ones that’ll complement the decor you already have in your house! If your house is decked out in beachy, pastel colors and you use seashells as design elements, we should definitely head to the beach. But if you prefer to decorate in a rustic style, with organic tones like browns and khakis, the natural environments of the park or the hiking trail would probably fit your look best. Take your current design strategy into consideration when you make this choice, and you’ll thank yourself later. On the other hand, if you don’t have much of a “design strategy” to speak of, the choices are wide open! Where would your dog like to go? 

A Pet Photography Proposal! Featuring Baby, the Cocker Spaniel

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

When I first spoke with Alma, she told me all about her 15-year-old cocker spaniel, Baby, and as we planned our session date and chatted about details I simply thought this would be a typical photo session. We’d have a great time, end up with some adorable photos, and it would be another successful session! No hiccups, no worries, everything would go smooth as always.

Then I got a call from Jony, her boyfriend, that changed everything.

He told me he was planning on proposing during our photo session! I have to admit, some guys have it all figured out – and I completely admire Jony for planning ahead and making sure the moment would be captured on film! We came up with a strategy, planned our “signal” for when he would get down on one knee, and he even gave me the ring hours before our photo session took place so that it could be safely hidden in my camera bag (where Alma wouldn’t have a chance of seeing it). And you know what? The whole photo session leading up to the big moment, I had a huge smile on my face. I can’t remember the last time I had so much joy photographing a couple – because I knew they were about to spend the rest of their lives together. I can’t help but smile at the “family” photos we took before the proposal, because Alma – the sweetest person – had no idea that Jony was going to ask her to become his wife that day. That Jony was willing to stand by her side for the rest of time, and he was ready to ask if she’d do the same for him. It was an incredibly special day, one they’ll both remember for the rest of their lives – and honestly, I will too. Gah! I’m so completely thrilled for them!!

But enough talk – I know you want to see this amazing pet photography proposal already!! :)

 

First, an introduction: this is Baby! She’s been Alma’s constant companion for the past 15 years, and she did a great job in the studio (despite feeling a bit unsure of what exactly we were doing)!

pet photography proposal dog

 

I can’t believe this sweet little family is about to make it official!!

pet photography proposal shoot

 

After a bit of studio time, we headed to Balboa Park and wandered amongst the flowers & gardens.

pet photography proposal session

 

No words.

pet photography proposal

 

I think Baby approves.

pet photography proposal photo

 

Alma & Jony, thank you so much for including me as you start the rest of your lives together! I could not be happier for you two!!!

 

 

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